An Open Letter from Bill Low of AudioQuest

An open letter from myself and AudioQuest to the community—to everyone who cherishes the truth, regardless of their opinions about audio and digital cables, regardless of their opinions about AudioQuest.

For good reason, there is growing internet “buzz” about the recently published findings of Mark Waldrep on his Real HD-AUDiO blog.

Mark’s findings are very relevant, and the implied malfeasance is extremely serious.

I was first made aware of Mark’s post this last Friday, January 22. I immediately wrote to everyone at AudioQuest who either is in contact with Home Entertainment by D-Tronics (the store in Texas which created and posted the video in question), or who manages that relationship, or is involved in any way with our communication with the world at large.

Home Entertainment was contacted immediately, and was informed that there were legitimate questions about the veracity of the video. We asked that the video be taken down, and that we learn everything possible about the production of the video, and that AudioQuest be given the opportunity to analyze the video ourselves.

The video was taken down—however, unfortunately, despite repeated and insistent communication from AudioQuest, neither the dealer nor the production house they used have provided us with the promised password and/or link to the video. Adan Garcia, the manager at Pollux Castor, the production house, told AudioQuest that he didn’t have time to look into our situation—so all we have is our memory of the video. If we ever are given access, we will no longer be certain that it was the same video as previously posted.

I have already waited too long to make a statement—I cannot wait any longer. I would much prefer to be reporting on AudioQuest’s investigation, reporting that either Mark’s results cannot be duplicated, or thanking Mark for having brought to light a serious misdeed. Unfortunately, without the video to diagnose, I can only openly speculate and describe my and AudioQuest’s operative assumptions.

Backing up about a year, to when the video was created—I saw and heard the video. I found the audio difference “unbelievable”. I asked for verification that that there had not been any enhancement or manipulation. The dealer was contacted, and AudioQuest was assured that the video was honest and included no alteration. Maybe I was an optimistic sucker, hoping too hard that the seemingly impossible was possible—after all, playing these cables into a flat-panel TV and listening through the TV’s pathetic built-in speakers does reveal obvious audible differences, but that this magnitude of real-world audible difference should be seemingly even more obvious in a compressed video was astonishing.

In any case, AudioQuest did not object to the video, though AudioQuest also did nothing to publicize the video—it was not done by us or for us, and AudioQuest did not itself consider this video as a promotional opportunity. It was not posted on the AudioQuest Facebook page or otherwise used by AudioQuest in any way.

Digressing for a moment: Back in the days when S-Video was king, it was delightfully easy to switch between cables and show profound differences in video quality, but as much as I wanted to be able to place ads showing this difference, it was impossible to take a photo which showed the difference. The problem was that the damage done by a lesser S-Video cable was dynamic, as is the viewing experience, so I accepted reality and gave up. I did not even try to show a representative simulation. Had it already been the internet age, I could have posted an authentic undoctored video which would have shown what so many clearly saw at CEDIA. At the dawn of the internet age, Component video cable differences were as obvious, but no YouTube and only dial-up—nah.

So here I am today, engaging in damage control. Until AudioQuest is given the opportunity to examine evidence which contradicts Mark’s findings, my operative assumption is that Mark has truly discovered a lie, and that Mark has to the best of his ability, broadcast the truth about this lie.

Whether AudioQuest will initiate legal proceedings against those responsible for the video in question, against those who have misrepresented AudioQuest, is yet to be determined. Until we learn more, and until proven otherwise, our operative assumption is that Mark is the good guy, that AudioQuest is the victim, and that the perpetrators need to be censored. Possibly well-meaning intentions to make the truth more evident don’t count. An exaggerated truth is in fact a lie.

Credibility is always a most precious phenomenon. That many audio products, that many products in general, deserve skepticism is a given. It is a shame for AudioQuest and for the whole audio industry to witness apparent evidence of such deceit and misinformation. However, an exception, even if there are also other exceptions, doesn’t disprove the honorability of the industry in general.

My personality is such that I’m always crying “foul” over unrealistic claims, about representations of video or photographic differences which are obviously false, impossible laundry detergent claims or whatever. I have to close with a mea culpa for damping down my own on-record skepticism about the Home Entertainment video. I’m sorry for all of us who care about our separate and collective credibility.—William E. Low

Ayre conditioned's picture

Try that again, in English this time.

Bill Leebens's picture

" rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’"

I am somehow reminded of this quote from Carroll when the whole "cables don't matter" contingent starts ranting. It's astonishing to me that a group of people who are seemingly willing to accept the basics of modern physics---including the existence of sub-atomic particles known only on a theoretical or inferrential basis---are able to set up rigid boundaries in their minds as to what does and does matter in electrical and physical interactions---seemingly as a matter of personal control and dominance.

Why doesn't it make sense that the purity and the crystalline structure of the conductor( or lack of it) would affect signal-transmission? Why wouldn't the geometry of a winding affect inductance? Similarly, why wouldn't choice of dielectric materials and wrapping affect the signal?

In a former life I managed a medical-imaging facility. If there's an example of miraculous technology now taken for granted as part of everyday life, it's the MRI, as far as I'm concerned. If one can believe that such technology exists--and it clearly does-- surely it's conceivable that the tiny signals we deal with in audio can be affected by damn near everything.

But in the grand scheme of things: aren't there bigger concerns to obsess about? Really?

spacehound's picture

What you say makes perfect sense. On the face of it.

"So far undiscovered" physics is NOT going to come from snake oil suppliers (Nordost in this example) who buy in 5 dollar per metre cable from Molex, terminate two one metre lengths of it, and sell the result for 1000 dollars plus.

Is it?

Bluejimbop's picture

I find your frequent reference to 'sanity' amusing.

plw92's picture

USB, Ethernet and HDMI all transmit data in frames or packets each of which has a data check. If the data is changed, the packet is rejected and retransmitted. If the retransmits go too high the data link fails. It's that simple. These are not analogue cables and cannot be enhanced in any other than to lower retransmits in long runs. The data gets there or doesn't.

If you are running power across the cable (as is the case with USB) there is opportunity to introduce noise to the analogue circuits on the receiving side but this noise is not in the digital realm and also is not a function of the cable. USB isolators address these issues (Schiit Wyrd for example).

Expensive USB, Ethernet and HDMI are at best jewelry and at worse snake oil. You can believe what you like but these are protocol based communications systems and can only behave in well-defined ways.

dalethorn's picture

Back in the days when hucksters sold snake oil in bottles, they didn't have to be concerned that someone with a cellphone using Google was standing there challenging what they were saying.

Today, we have Google and Siri and tons of information at everyone's fingertips, and we have instant 24/7 competition between makers of esoteric computer gear, and still the stuff sells.

My doctors and dentists have a good amount of disposable income, but they are neither stupid nor careless with their purchases. I think my doctors know something about snake oil selling (heh), so I ask them about the gear they buy - especially the cables. The gist of what I get from them is that they want cables that are made by someone who makes a conscious effort to make a good cable, not so much quibbling about whether the $1500 cable is better than the $1000 cable.

I've read the wild stories about people comparing $1000 interconnects to straightened coat hangers, where the hangers (with appropriate terminations) won the blind test. Does that inform me about cables? No, it informs me about stories of blind tests.

One participant here stated that "It's about 3 (or so) fixed things: capacitance, resistance, something else....", and "that's all there is". I wonder. I hear astounding differences between different gauges of speaker cable. Is there a perfect speaker cable that totally avoids adding to or subtracting from the sound? Can I buy that cable without making a formal study in advance? Will it work perfectly for all amps and speakers? That seems doubtful.

I expect interconnects to make less of a difference. For me, that means buying a decent quality interconnect, then testing it myself against other interconnects, biases and all. I don't do blind tests, since I've found that doing different comparisons over time points up the really important differences. Trusting other people - not just a few individuals, but many people - sorts out who has the best credibility, when I need that kind of assurance.

Detecting a difference between components or tweaks doesn't always tell you if the sound is better or worse. You have to figure that out most of the time with music tracks, and some of those may tell you 'A' is better, and some of those tracks will suggest that 'B' is better. If you can figure these things out on your own in an efficient amount of time, then you might not need experts and articles to help you, so you can just go fishing and enjoy your music.

plw92's picture

Don't confuse the two, if a digital cable is within spec, the bits get there. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing in the technology that would allow the data to be changed by some magical cable. Any claims as such should be considered false advertising, an nicer name for fraud.

dalethorn's picture

Not true at all. If it were fraud, we would have known long ago. Look up John Swenson and his research in digital audio. He's a real person and engineer, and quite knowledgable.

Panopoulos's picture

The is a surprise in a store for you! For it is truth, not all that is wrong has seen the light. Now we shed, like the skin off the lubricated snake.

Ayre conditioned's picture

You're making more sense than Spacehound!

spacehound's picture

The entire purpose of 'digital' processes is to exclude 'analog' problems. The DATA is noise immune, for example. It does not deteriorate 'gracefully', it either works perfectly or not at all. You can observe this on a digital TV. The picture is either 'perfect' or has totally broken up into little squares. And it's the same with digital audio.

But noise can be transmitted via the cables to the folloing 'analog' circuits, such as the DAC chips analog output, the amplifier, whatever.

This noise is VERY low. In my system at FULL volume with the amplifier input shorted I hear NOTHING with an ear right against the tweeter. The same is true when I involve the computer, Windows, JRiver and the DAC. (I do this by instructing JRiver to "play silence".)

John Svenson is sincere, but is chasing a non-existent probem.

dalethorn's picture

The entire purpose of perfect digital content is related to storage, not to what you said. John Swenson is a real hands-on authority, and his work is valuable in uncovering a lot of anomalies in digital electronics. And just because the picture doesn't break up doesn't make it perfect. Maybe you should take a course in absolutism, and how it's almost never correct to be absolute. The real world, including digital, is never black or white.

Edit: I probably shouldn't even bring up sub-bit encryption, since this topic is already a train wreck.

spacehound's picture

John Swenson, who I respect more than most 'experts' in digital audio never, I believe, actually WORKED in the field and was unknown until he started to appear on CA. And as he is the only one there (with the exception of Chris himself and about two others) who has the remotest clue he stands out. Now him and a partner make the 'Regen' box which may or may not improve USB, though I can't see any reason why it should. But I have not tested it.

I used 'perfect' as a simplified answer. Maybe I should not have done that. But it is not the 'quality' of the bit that matters, rounder zeros, more upright ones, whatever.

The whole POINT of 'digital' anything is that until you transfer it into 'analog' it IS black or white. a bit is detected CENTRALLY, not at its side to side or top to bottom noisy edges. So many people are unable to get away from their analog paradigms and miss this completely.

I agree, best NOT to get into "sub bit encryption" as BY DEFINITION bits are the smallest pieces of data that CAN exist. Try to get into anything smaller than that and you get into the unicorns, dragons, and fairies on 'deliberately hidden data between the bits' as oft falsely propagated by the likes of SandyK in Australia (who probably believes in "Men in Black" too).

Train wrecks can be interesting for their own sake. You don't think anyone here except the owner actually CARES about AudioQuest, do you?

(BTW: You CAN make transmissions totally undetectable. Some of our radio-controlled toy plane equipment is, though that was not its purpose. But it sill relies on 'bits'. They are just so low in height and so wide (though still have lots of 'area under the curve') that they are undetectable even from the natural background noise of the universe. But 'bits' they remain. And knowing EXACTLY where to look, which only a 'bound' within a few inches of the transmitter set to bind mode' receiver ever can, they are quite clear.)

dalethorn's picture

Einstein called quantum science unicorns and fairies also, at one time. Then he wised up. Sub-bits are an interesting subject that gets into 'states', where behavior doesn't follow your rigid definitions. Next....

Panopoulos's picture

Gimme some!!!

Habanero Monk's picture

Look up John Swenson and his research in digital audio. He's a real person and engineer, and quite knowledgable.

Is getting his butt handed to him over at Whatsbestforum.

He designed a product that three seperate EE's independently verified was actually making the audio WORSE.

He designed an audio component with out so much as an Audio Analyzer on the bench.

Don't take my word for it. Read it for yourself:

Also the owner, Alex, of Uptone in that very same thread agreed to a blind listening session himself.

Osgood Crinkly III's picture

Have said as much above. This invalidates this entire phony "controversy," instigated by Stereophile to its advantage, to get hits.

I have extensive clinical, board-certified experience with multimillion dollar, digital, radiology imaging equipment (MRI, CT, PACS, US, etc.) and board-certified knowledge of radiology physics -- I'd like to see Atkinson or any of you pass the American Board of Radiology exams, ha.

Either a digital cable works or it doesn't. It's basically all or nothing, 0 or 1.

Bought an HDMI wire on eBay for $2.79 and it's working perfectly.

The ignorance here is medieval, the moral indignation disgusting.

spacehound's picture

And the ignorance is amusing ("If you don't understand it then it can be indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C Clarke).

Moral indignation? Yes. For two reasons.

(1) None of these guys have ever exceeded the speed limit of course. And we all know a farmers only desire is to feed the world. He would try to do that even if never paid at all. Mr Low is just making a living, same as the rest of us.

(2) "I just spent 1000 dollars on this cable and I have a clue, being the world's top banker. Who are YOU, a mere physicist with no money, to tell me I have been made a fool of? Don't you KNOW having lots of money means you are an expert on everything?"

The problem is because 'common sense' is involved so the unknowing think they have a clue. It's not HARD enough. Let's try them on quantum mechanics and see how they get on :)

Osgood Crinkly III's picture

The fools refuse, absolutely refuse, to believe the truth about digital signal cables. Let them throw away their money. They deserve to be conned. AM radio is full of advertisements for these suckers -- nutritional supplements, erectile stimulants, memory enhancements, prostate cures, etc. etc.

Note, however, cables can make a world of difference, in the right setting, for analog signal, which is entirely irregular, asymmetric and composed of a continuum of endlessly variable, unmathematical little bumps and valleys, ridges and rills, and miniscule, practically unmeasurable microvolt, microampere, microsecond energy.

dpudvay's picture

Are you telling me I wasted my money on male enhancement pills?!? I'm shocked I tell you, shocked.

Seriously, there does seem to be a group of people who want to reject the notion of basic physics and digital electronics.

skikirkwood's picture

I agree with everything you are saying here other than USB audio streaming has no error correction (although it can be detected), unlike USB bulk transfer mode. That said, if a packet is dropped, you hear a tick sound or static.

It's unfortunate that mainstream audio publications such as Stereophile, Audiostream and The Absolute Sound continue to support the myth that high end digital audio cables (USB, Ethernet or HDMI) support better audio quality and are a worthwhile investment for audiophiles. But when you can sell a $10 cable for $1000, you can have a very large advertising budget - which is what pays the bills at these publications.

plw92's picture

If the device is USB compliant, it must handle data errors. Here is a high-level description of the process (very technical):

And in case the manufacturers want to actually test their devices, here is a tool to insert errors to validate that the device does handle the error conditions properly:

It is for USB 3.0 but there are similar devices for USB 2.0. If you think about it, a USB hard drive would be useless if it did not validate that there no data transmission errors. Newer USB hard drives operate at 600Mb/s which is far faster than most audio data streams.

skikirkwood's picture

And the Isochronous mode used to stream audio data has no error correction.

Not an issue for me since I use a Raspberry Pi with an addon IQaudio PI-DAC+ I2S DAC, so no need for a USB cable. But to your point, even transmitting hi res audio today is relatively trivial for any computer and DAC setup, as it's a fraction of the bandwidth of external hard drives with USB 3.0. And since the bulk transfer mode for disk drives does have error detection and correction, you can plug in different USB cables and see what kind of error rates they have - most likely the number will be zero for all of them. Whether they cost $10, or $1000.

TheAnalogkid's picture

You left out so many things that make USB a poor audio connection. As on any connection, sound quality is the ultimate test that each should do with their ears. Just as amps sound different (even with a razor flat measurement) so do USB connections and the associated equipment.

If audio was just simply about 1's and 0's it would be so much easier.

spacehound's picture

Why don't you all go to the horses mouth (the specification) and look it up?

You would then all agree and also save yourselves a lot of time.

plw92's picture

I didn't know about the Isochronoous mode. I found a neat paper on the XMOS web site ( XMOS makes chips to handle USB input and output to ASIO for DAC processing. As you said, errors will result in dropped packets (clicks). But again for those who do not want to bore into the white paper, audio uses UAC2 (hopefully) which requires that the data sender prepare a PCM or DSD data stream and then transmit it to the USB receiver. Bit sent must be the same as bits received otherwise the packet is dropped. If a packet is dropped you will get a click. Not enhancements possible in the USB. Read that again - NO ENHANCEMENTS POSSIBLE IN USB. Your DAC manufacturer may perform some analogue magic after the data is processed through the DAC chips, but that is after the USB.

By the way, I'm using a Pi and a Hifiberry+. A wonderful little package. Putting mine on a USB battery rather than a wall wart gives a wonderful improvement - no more switching noise into the analogue stage.

Habanero Monk's picture

here are 4 different USB transfer modes
Submitted by skikirkwood on February 1, 2016 - 2:25pm

And the Isochronous mode used to stream audio data has no error correction.

How many DAC's out there use isosynchronous transfer vs async?

dalethorn's picture

I look at the ads, and it's the Big Iron (as we said about cars and computers) that makes the Big Bucks. Cables, expensive or not, aren't a big factor. In my computer store, we had a huge margin on ink cartridges, disks, software, etc., but we weren't Walmart and we couldn't survive for even a month on those things. If Stereophile were Walmart and paying $11/hour to everyone, they could do OK on ads for cables.

Panopoulos's picture

There is not that which is possible, and a busyness model of reflection, like the theatrical with popping corn and the marked up to profit of puffery???

Ayre conditioned's picture

I've got to meet this guy.

cgh's picture

He's too busy writing press releases for Kim Jong-Un, like this gem from January 6th

"Through the test conducted with indigenous wisdom, technology and efforts the DPRK fully proved that the technological specifications of the newly developed H-bomb for the purpose of test were accurate and scientifically verified the power of smaller H-bomb."

Ayre conditioned's picture

it is agape.

Panopoulos's picture

Within the ministry of exaltation up in to the glorious formation of the truth. Come on baby megabyte my wire.

michaelavorgna's picture

...your comments never would have gotten through ;-)

Prove your assertions that USB and Ethernet cables do not make any difference in an audio system and prove that AudioStream's editorial content is influenced by advertisers. Since the latter claim is false, as the Editor of AudioStream I *know* that you are wrong, good luck convincing me you know more about what and why I do what I do than I do. If you cannot prove your assertions, and you're already starting out at best 1 for 2, I'll add you to my 'ignore forever' list.

To clarify, I'm talking about proof, not what amounts to a gross oversimplification and inaccurate account of how digital data transfer works. For the record, network performance is not simply a measure of whether or not data is passed without error

spacehound's picture

None of those things can be proven as it is logically impossible to prove a negative. No doubt you know that.

As for advertising, NOT reporting at all on stuff some of your advertisers may make or sell when you have found it to be complete rubbish is a common magazine process, again unprovable of course. Though I have seen cases in another field of interest where promises are made to "investigate and report back" which of course never happens. But it's a good clue.

Network performance.
The only other parameter that matters is network speed. No doubt you know that. And near enough ANY 21st century wired network speed is well adequate for audio and you know that as well. Any other parameters are entirely in the realm of myth and magic.

"To clarify"
Rest assured. If we want to know more about network performance we will get it from formal specifications, not from the editor of an online HiFi magazine or Mrs Spacehound.

michaelavorgna's picture

...for nearly 20 years. The company I owned designed, installed, tested and maintained networks. If Mrs Spacehound has similar experience, perhaps she and I could have an intelligent conversation.

Saying that network speed is the only other parameter that matters is fine if you don't have to do anything but use it.

As to your comments re. advertising, everything that comes to AudioStream for a review, gets reviewed. Of course you didn't know that because you already made stuff up that suits your warped view of the process.

Have a nice day.

plw92's picture

If you worked on networks for 20 years then you should have had experience putting packet analysers on Ethernet networks and watching the data fly. There are a number of things that will negatively affect end-to-end transmission of data on Ethernet, the prime two candidates being hardware jabbering and traffic volumes. On a home network running 1000base-T (wired), traffic is rarely an issue. Jabber can be caused by a bad Ethernet port or a bad cable. Once replaced, full speed can be maintained. On my little network I can manage sustained transfers of 110-120MB/s (that is Mega Bytes/second not Mega bits/second). A fully utilized UAC2 stream consumes 196.6Mb/s which is about 25MB/s, only a quarter of my available capacity. This audio stream would be able to drive 8 channels at 384kHz with a bit depth of 32. More than any of us would ever use for audio. Ethernet, like USB, also ensures bit-perfect delivery of data. The packet will be dropped if it is corrupted or changed in any way. So, my question to you is other than fixing physical access layer issues such as jabber, what possible difference could an Ethernet cable make to an audio stream?

michaelavorgna's picture

"...what possible difference could an Ethernet cable make to an audio stream?"

Here you are again:

"But noise can be transmitted via the cables to the folloing 'analog' circuits, such as the DAC chips analog output, the amplifier, whatever."

plw92's picture

The Ethernet port into which they are plugged may not be properly shielded or grounded. That is not a function of the cable and will not change with different cables. That would be, if it actually ever occurred, a function of the crap hardware into which the cable is plugged. Ethernet voltages are too low to affect audio signal and audio equipment does not use Power Over Ethernet and even if it did any effect would again be the result of the crap equipment into which the cable is plugged not the cable itself.

If you want to believe that an Ethernet or USB cable has magical properties and want to spend serious cash, go right ahead. Just don't try to justify that something real is happening because the laws of the universe (in the form of the physics of electrical signaling and digital communications) do not support your position.

spacehound's picture

He has to put something in his magazine to keep us interested so people pay for the adverts. How else are 'free' online magazines paid for?

What DO we believe? Reviews of 'proper' equipment (boxes) can help us exclude the rubbish as he hears far more of these boxes than we do. I have in fact listened to boxes because of good reviews (one from Michael) and ended up purchasing them. But I have only 'trialled' expensive cables and NONE are worth the money. We don't get wealthy enough to buy good boxes on which the difference can be OBVIOUS by wasting money on 'magic' cables, do we?

Panopoulos's picture

Saying it loud, state it clear, spoken it without fear

spacehound's picture

will now tell us that an Ethernet cable can transmit data WELL while ATTENTUATING the noise.

How does the copper wire tell the difference, particularly when the noise is IMPOSED ON the signal. It's not SEPARATE is it?

Panopoulos's picture

If high priest of declaration makes it so, the ship follows the order into the warped drive to space time distortion.

Habanero Monk's picture

...what possible difference could an Ethernet cable make to an audio stream?"

Here you are again:

"But noise can be transmitted via the cables to the folloing 'analog' circuits, such as the DAC chips analog output, the amplifier, whatever."

So are you stipulating that the AQ Ethernet cables you listened to did such a thing?

That you had these plain as day differences but at April's Axpona you wouldn't be able to speak to some of the vendors you work with to use their setup and take 15 minutes and show everyone?

I've spent a few months with these cables, and I swapped them in and out any number of times. With quick A/B swapping, which I admit to finding one of the most annoying ways one can listen since you're no longer listening to the music!, I was still able to perceive a clear difference but longer listening allowed me to more fully appreciate the greater clarity and relative ease the Vodka and Diamond cables impart

michaelavorgna's picture

...was not written by me, I was quoting someone else.

I do not attend Axpona.

Oh, it's you again. How many times do I have tell you I'm not interested in your 'test'? I agree with John Atkinson re. the validity of your 'test', as I've told you countless times I believe it is a pointless exercise.

So no, I'm not interested in taking your 'test', ever. Regardless of how many times you ask, over however many years, my answer will always be "no".

Just to clarify my position, I am not now, nor will I ever be, interested in taking your silly 'test'. Is that clear?

Habanero Monk's picture

Then you need to at least explain how the test is silly...

You need to upset Harman and Phillips on their blinded evaluation methodologies.

Your writing is hackish at best until you can empirically prove the content you write about.

I get it. You have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

spacehound's picture

HiFi magazines and HiFi manufacturers are mutually dependent is all.

It may not make either of them dishonest but they DO have a mutual agenda, which is our interest and thus our money.

We 'deniers' don't have an agenda. No one makes any money out of saying EXPENSIVE cables, on average, sound no better than cheap ones, do they? I have spent a whole lot on equipment over the years, and continue to do so. But I DON'T spend it on myth and magic.

"Ethernet cable sound". What UTTER nonsense.

michaelavorgna's picture

You try to convince people of your point of view.

Of course you are not paid to be a 'denier' (at least I don't think so), but judging from your comments here and elsewhere there's a lot of ego at stake.

"'Ethernet cable sound'. What UTTER nonsense." I agree. That is nonsense. Cables do not have any sound, systems do.

plw92's picture

It is to uncover misleading claims designed to defraud unsuspecting people of their hard earned cash. Nothing more, nothing less.

I would think that would be a goal shared by such any publication aimed at helping consumers make informed choices.

Is that not Stereophile's aim?

michaelavorgna's picture

Our aim at AudioStream is evident in the work we produce. We've been at it for over 4 years so there's plenty to dig into. Our readers are not "unsuspecting people", they are adults who have the ability to think and experience for themselves.

Our main goal is to help increase people's enjoyment of the experience of listening to music on the hi-fi.

plw92's picture

"FOAMED-POLYETHYLENE INSULATION: Any solid material adjacent to a conductor is actually part of an imperfect circuit. Wire insulation and circuit board materials all absorb energy (loss). Some of this energy is stored and then released as distortion. Diamond USB uses air-filled Foamed-Polyethylene Insulation because air absorbs next to no energy and Polyethylene is low-loss and has a benign distortion profile. Thanks to all the air in Foamed-PE, it causes much less of the out-of-focus effect common to other materials."

And how this figures into the USB protocol and the effect on digital data transfers which must be bit-perfect? Perhaps there is a white paper available detailing the physical properties of the insulator of the material and its effect on data transmission?

michaelavorgna's picture

You'd have to ask them what the things they write mean.

My only comment re. USB and audio is we are not just concerned with "digital data transfers" since a USB cable is connected to a DAC. The following quote is from The Electronics Handbook, Second Edition edited by Jerry C. Whitaker:

Noise In Mixed Signal Systems
It is also common, however, as stated earlier, for electronic systems to begin and end as analog circuits, but in between have digital logic subsections. Such a system is called a mixed signal system, and noise is a concern both at the input to the system and at the output.

plw92's picture

Whether you work for AudioQuest or not is at issue. You have not actually addressed any issue put directly to you about digital transfers and then you introduce an irrelevant quote.

At issue is people and companies making fraudulent claims about improved audio resultant from the use of "special" digital cables. The issue is that there is no support in the digital realm for such claims nor any theory or truth in physics, chemistry or digital communications that would support any claim other than that a digital cable will work or not work. Bits are transferred using methods to ensure they do not change in transit. Claims to the contrary are wishful thinking.

As a writer on this topic you should be searching for the truth, not thinking wishfully.

To quote your organization: "Whether you are looking to enhance and optimize music playback from your computer, move to a purpose-built music server or streamer, or distribute music throughout your home with our without wires, AudioStream offers a critical view into a rapidly expanding world of solutions."

How are you being critical in not exposing snake oil?

michaelavorgna's picture

We are talking about noise in a mixed signal system, a DAC, so ignoring the analog side is to ignore at least 1/2 of the equation.

In my experience, cables can improve the sound of an audio system. Again, the work I do is freely available so anyone can read it and decide whether or not its worth their time. I stand by the work I do and take my job and responsibility to our readers very seriously. I also try to focus my reviews on products I believe are of interest and relevant to the world of computer audio.

The subject in this back and forth is over my reviews of the AudioQuest Ethernet cables, reviews which were posted in 2012. At that time, these cables were of interest and discussed on forums so I reviewed them. This is my job. Since then, I have written a number of related posts wherein I explain my position.

If I found these cables, or anything I review, to be ineffectual I would say so in plain English.

plw92's picture

On the Stereophile site as it is related to HDMI cables in AudioQuest's dealer's video (now removed from YouTube). The topic was subsequently simplified to whether or not digital cables affect the sound of a audio system. You have put forward claims they can. I have asked for rationales.

These cables cannot change the digital stream, as was claimed in the fraudulent video. That is the core of the discussion. If you can demonstrate and explain how a USB cable can improve the sound of a system, barring cable faults, I would like to see some objective evidence that one cable will behave differently than another. The AudioQuest quote I provided is an example of the smoke and mirror rationale that a cable vendor, the one in the originating article, uses to flog their wares.

michaelavorgna's picture

...then we are in agreement, more or less. But that's not what I am talking about nor is it what I've written about, which is an audio system.

The only way to demonstrate the value of anything to do with hi-fi, especially cables and tweaks which are system and user dependent, is to listen for yourself.

plw92's picture

You interjected in a conversation on digital cables and insist on trying to stay off topic. Why?

michaelavorgna's picture

I am on topic. Digital cables are used in a mixed signal system. If you do not see the value in recognizing the analog side of that system, I would suggest you are not on topic.

plw92's picture

Please read before you write.

I did outline the effect of noise from the digital circuits on the receiving side degrading the analogue signal. The point was and is that a noisy digital stage in the DAC is not fixed by a magical cable.

michaelavorgna's picture a cable, even a digital cable. There is no magic implied or needed to recognize this fact nor the notion that cable design and construction can directly impact this noise transfer.

As I'm sure you are aware, Ethernet is a particularly noisy environment, which is one reason error correction has been part of the protocol from day 1. If you look at the specs for the various Ethernet cable categories, you'll see tighter tolerances in cable construction and improved noise rejection the higher up in category you go.

plw92's picture

Error detection is designed into the protocols of all digital communications.

Ethernet is not a particularly noisy medium, the different cable spec's exist to accommodate ever increasing data rates not some mystical improvement in audio.

Noise is never introduced by a cable. In the analogue world a properly shielded cable can reject or attenuate external noise, in the digital world shielding can reduce data errors by rejecting external noise.

In the digital world if there is a data error, the packet is retransmitted or dropped depending upon the protocol. The data packet gets there unchanged or it is rejected.

michaelavorgna's picture

You apparently do not understand the meaning of those words.

But I give up as well as I need to get back to work, listening to music through my mixed signal system ;-)


spacehound's picture

But HiFi magazines are NOT 'consumer protection' magazines and don't claim to be.

My 'aim' is simply to place a few 'scientific facts' in front of them. But I DO fully realise that it is of no more use than arguing politics.

HiFi is not even remotely realistic anyway (I speak as a one time frequent visitor to classical concerts at the famous Albert Hall in London UK, as I lived just round the corner at the time and the tickets were quite inexpensive). The only time I EVER mistook HiFi for reality was when I thought, many years ago, there was a live band in the English pub we were in, playing in the next room. It turned out I was hearing the now (incorrectly) derided B&O stuff much favoured in English pubs at the time.

"Like the studio master". That's a fine concept, but how many of us have ever heard one? I never have.

And I am CONVINCED your own mood is the most important thing of all. Personally I find that if I am NOT in a receptive mood it all sounds like rubbish. But you don't KNOW you are not in a receptive until you get started.

spacehound's picture

Surely you wan't people to believe you? Or your 'job satisfaction' would be zero. And of course we DO on some things.

"Ethernet cable sound". Of course cables don't have a 'sound'. And they can't change the 'sound' because at that point it's a data file, no different from any other data file.

The cable merely delivers the file to a box whose output is normally a varying analog voltage which CAN be made into a sound.

Unless the design of that box is EXTREMELY poor the quality of the incoming 'electrical analogs of bits' don't matter at all provided the 'bits' can be distinguished. That is the whole POINT of 'digital'. But many people are still stuck in their analog paradigms and thu make up myths and magic about it all. "Better SATA cables" for example, It's nonsense, as is "software generated jitter" when a data file contains NO timing information so the timing CANNOT be wrong. The timing, on USB at least, is ALL down to the DACs clock and nothing else.
Though I'm sure I don't have to tell you that stuff. But you know as well as I do what nonsense gets talked about or posted.

Yes, I have heard about "mixed signal systems". Most of it is nonsense. The zero or one is detected in the MIDDLE of the pulse, both horizontally and vertically. USB, for example, eing NRZI, doesn't even HAVE a 'leading edge' (statistically) 50% of the time.

What CAN matter is noise getting into the analog parts. This is easily overcome. Take DACs. I have yet to find one (of the four I have owned) that needs the 5 volt power. And you can prevent the 'antenna' effect inside the USB cable by cutting it at the computer end. That's not all of it of course, but the 5 volts is a part.

michaelavorgna's picture

...and my reaction to it as best I can. There's nothing to 'believe' since I do not make black/white value judgements unless I feel I cannot recommend something in which case I'll say so.

What a writer actually writes is where I focus my attention when reading.

spacehound's picture

I did not refer to your online magazine at all. If fact I said "In another field of interest".

So it's YOU making stuff up.

BTW: Mrs Spacehound thinks it's all nerdy nonsense. Which of course it is. She doesn't mind, none of her friends has got a REAL nerd like she has :)

michaelavorgna's picture

I misread this statement of yours:

"As for advertising, NOT reporting at all on stuff some of your advertisers may make or sell when you have found it to be complete rubbish is a common magazine process, again unprovable of course."

"your advertisers" made me think you were talking about my advertisers.

It is mostly nerdy nonsense. However, questioning people's motives and/or integrity and/or intelligence is uncalled for, imo.

spacehound's picture

I have reached the point when I can personally think of no further improvements, though I am sure it's possible.

Even Mrs Spacehound say the TV sounds good. I take the SPDIF output straight from the standard UK 'free to air' digital box so it is as 'pure' as you will ever get, and feed it into a spare input on the dCS DAC. (Which I bought on 'principle' as I won't pay more than a few hundred dollars for a DAC that has an off the shelf ten dollar Sabre chip doing 90% of the work. They can stick their $20,000 DACS with a ten dollar chip inside where the sun doesn't shine.)

Music? She's only interested in 'boy bands' even at her age :)

michaelavorgna's picture

It's difficult, at times, to think of this as 'work' ;-)

I'm very happy to hear you are enjoying your system. To my mind, that's the entire point of this hobby - the enjoyment and ideally the discovery of music. Even 'boy bands' ;-)

spacehound's picture

Perhaps dCS should lighten up a bit and call their next DAC 'Britney' or whatever.

I like 'classical' music but really only know the common stuff like Vivaldi, Mozart, etc.

I 'discover' things with YouTube.

BBC radio 3 is supposed to be good for 'classical' but to me they only play tinkly piano music or funeral dirges.

And 'Classic FM' seems to insist on telling us ever minute or so that we are listening to Classic FM. Don't they realise we KNOW that? It's written on the dial.

Habanero Monk's picture

[not what amounts to a gross oversimplification and inaccurate account of how digital data transfer works. For the record, network performance is not simply a measure of whether or not data is passed without error]

Before I spent 10 years in radios, I cut my engineering teeth writing device drivers for disk drives. On its way from the disk to the DAC, the data is copied over and over and over again. (Engineering note: Yes, it shouldn't be, and yes, a zero-copy stack is a fine goal, but not one we might expect to find in our lifetime). It comes from the disk itself through the whole head assembly, checksum, decode thing into buffer memory, then into a queue and up through a SATA (or whatever) cable into a SATA controller's buffer memory, then via DMA over a backplane into the PC's memory. After that, if you're lucky, it might be zero-copy on its way to the application, or it may not. Probably not, because the raw disk block data that's now in memory needs a bit of sorting to get it into whatever posix-stylee file-stream interface the OS wants to present to the application. And then the application's going to shuffle it around so it can then be fed back down a whole different chain through the USB interface out to a DAC.

There are no magic properties in the data file that's on disk (or FLASH disk), and certainly won't be after all of that's been done to it. In storage, bits-r-bits I'm afraid.

spacehound's picture

But I don't see why he thinks copying multiple times is 'bad'. It's not as if you are listening to the file is it? A multiply copied Philips cassette it isn't.

Remins me of some nutcase on CA. He's always trying to convince everyone that a WAV file transmitted over the Interest sounds worse than one that is posted to you on a disk.

dalethorn's picture

It is possible for identical checksummed files on a disk to sound different. What's the likelihood? Very little in a properly functioning system. Now, ignoring the "properly functioning" caveat, how could they possibly sound different? Start with the O/S, file fragmentation, timing, buffers, etc. etc. Now you can argue AGAINST all of those possibilities by repeating the "properly functioning" clause over and over again. But the real world isn't black and white, and we aren't living in a locked 44 khz box - there are many things that affect digital data. Sure, the O/S checksums the data in a filecopy, but is every process that handles digital data checksummed? No... Anyway, for every denial that two files that were checksummed at the source storage point could sound different, I can think of possibilities that could make a difference. Not saying it proves any particular instance, but it does take a little imagination (the good kind) to look outside of the safety and security of the "bits are bits" box.

spacehound's picture

And there is more to life than checksums. Which are NOT 100% in ALL circumstanced. But bit for bit comparisons are. And if it is 'bit perfect' coming out of (say) the USB port it will, when converted to analog by the same DAC, sound the same.

'Digital' does NOT degrade gracefully, it works 100% or it doesn't work at all. And an error, even of only ONE bit, will come out as a very obvious 'click' or whatever.

dalethorn's picture

Again, Argumentum Ad Nauseam.

Habanero Monk's picture

Submitted by michaelavorgna on February 1, 2016 - 4:17pm

...your comments never would have gotten through ;-)

Prove your assertions that USB and Ethernet cables do not make any difference in an audio system

Prove that they do. I find it ironic you are a writer of opinion, won't back up a word you write, asking others for proof.

Here is some information from the Archimago blog on Ethernet Cables:

[img] [/img]



skikirkwood's picture

As is Mark Waldrep's. I wish mainstream audio publications were more like both of them, in that they aim to educate and inform their readers, not push press releases, pseudoscience and bogus reviews of snake oil products from their advertisers.

The best sounding DAC I've personally heard is Playback Designs MPD-3 - at $6000 a bit over my budget. Andreas Koch, the designer of the DAC has a clear opinion on the audio differences between USB cables:

That would be - nothing.

Q. What cable interface should I use?
A. With a properly designed DAC, as described above, none of these cables have
a bearing, because all that the DAC expects from them is a truthful transmission
of bits. Since all of them can do that I don’t expect any sonic differences.

dalethorn's picture

I would much prefer to read personal opinions of people who spend a lot of time with the review products than read 1000 claims that "there's no difference". Maybe if some of the absolutist people posting here would pick an exact example from a review to challenge, then different reviewers and users from across the continents could dig into that example and prove it one way or the other.

skikirkwood's picture

And couldn't justify their claims. Too bad we don't have a similar agency in the U.S. for bogus advertising:

dalethorn's picture

So, we in the U.S. need to increase our govt's powers, by suing mfrs. who sell to the wealthy, while we tax the crap out of the poor and middle class (what's left of it) to prove what can't be proven, i.e. that the noise level I hear between two cables is or isn't identical. Umm, no thanks. Let's spend that money on something better, like bridge safety.

skikirkwood's picture

What I found interesting though, was a major high end cable company could not prove their claims to the ASA, and they were busted. Several other cable companies had the same outcome in England. That's because these companies are all pitching snake oil and have marketing campaigns based upon pseudoscience.

But I have to admit, the Chord cables do look really cool - and they should for over $2000:

dalethorn's picture

If the snake oil is consumed internally, yes. If the snake oil is revisionist pro-fascist "history" being put into schoolbooks for the young, yes to action on that. But when the so-called snake oil is a hi-fi or electronic cable that's being purchased by adults BASED ON its sonic qualities, I don't want my justice department intervening in that. Not any more than I want them adding $10000 more "protective" devices to my next car, pricing me out of reliable transportation. At least with the car there's an argument, however faulty, of good intentions.

spacehound's picture

What happens in the UK is that if you cannot DEMONSTRATE your claimed improvements or whatever you CANNOT put those claims in an advertisement. You can still make and sell the stuff, advertised without those undemonstrable claims.

That is fair and reasonable.

Cars? If you claim your car can do 200 mph you have to PROVE it. And ALL cars sold in the EU have to go though a standard 'economy' test. That test is somewhat optimistic in the real world, but it is an excellent standard of comparison nevertheless. You have to display the numbers in your advertisements.

That is fair and reasonable too, though many Europeans don't give a rat's ass about fuel economy as the very popular BMWs and Mercedes, being quite expensive, can't really be described as 'economical', but it helps those that do.

dalethorn's picture

I'd say that's the kind of legislation that socialist governments are fond of. We don't do that in the U.S.

dpudvay's picture

I myself would like to see more of that legislation in the US.

dalethorn's picture

I'd rather speak for freedom-loving people. So we don't lose freedoms because of misdirected whiny socialists.

dbtom2's picture

For giving this topic a space to air out a bit. It is interesting to read the different perspectives. I appreciate Audioquest's effort to get in front of the issue. Seems like a classic case of marketing run amok.

Panopoulos's picture

within the wind. It is a windy road in the city scape, with a slippery slope to catch a dopey trope

spacehound's picture

A cable's function is ONLY to transmit 'data' (in the form of electrical changes) from one place to another.

A cable is a passive device. It can't add anything.

But it can take things away (attenuate the electrical changes.)
At the frequencies we are interested in and at the lengths of cable we use it is unlikely to do this. This can be checked by the simplest of measurements, familiar to any would-be electrician who has gone to the local 'night school' for a week or two.

It CANNOT 'reduce' noise as the signal and the noise are electrically indistinguishable because noise is not SEPARATE from the electrical changes it is transmitting, it is part of them.
(Though there ARE methods of separating what is relevant and what is not. This is often called 'digital' and can be applied to ANY signal that can be reduced to a number of the smallest possible information-carrying components, which are called 'bits'. Audio is particularly EASY here as one of the human senses (without any 'training' whatsoever) can instantly detect the side effects of an error without needing to use any additional 'instruments'.)

Thus anyone who thinks an 'expensive' cable is in some way better is nuts or wilfully ignorant (which is a form of being nuts of course).

han72's picture

first things first: I enjoy reading your comments, but you seem somewhat rigid w.r.t. potential influences cables might have on reproduction quality (everything can influence the quality, cables not?).

may I remember you about the dynamic range of the human hearing sense? (for those who can't recall: ca 100dB, on a power level that is factor 10 billion: yes we resolve 1 and 1 billion in power-intensity and everything in between).

I bring up this topic because 'functional' electrical engineering focusses often on functionality but not on what happens in the last few dBs of signal quality. I suppose.

In other words: the notional cable picture composed of perfect R,L&Cs might be replaced by imperfect R,L&Cs (and also conductivity between conductors), i.e. R,L&Cs that are modulated by voltage signal, current, mechanical stress (in the dielectric), dielectric relaxation effects (google is your friend), impurities, nonlinearities, ... which will never turn a Michael Jackson song into a Henry Purcell ballade, but may add/remove something to/from the original.

I have an ipad connected to an Arcam irDAC (very nice but not the world's most transparent kit, nor is my hearing ability stellar but perhaps a bit over average) and I have replaced the original apple usb cable with an AQ Forest (35euros!) and it sounds definitely more clear, definitely DIFFERENT (perhaps more obvious an effect than taking off the grill cloth from the speaker. Hands up who can hear grill cloths!?).

--> What electrical engineers might contribute here is NOT to declare all differences as inexistent when they can be clearly identified & heard by me, Tom, Dick & Harry, but a proper theory that can explain their root causes.

plw92's picture

As I have noted, with references to standards and white papers, digital communications cannot be changed. The transmission fails if the data is changed and data is what is being transferred. It is that simple.

Take a look at

It is an interesting read and illustrates human foibles quite well.

dalethorn's picture

My Windows O/S on my PC and my Mac O/S are pretty faithful in reporting copy errors, in the rare event that they happen. Fortunately, the copy always (afaik) halts when an error cannot be corrected during a copy. Nonetheless, I and any number of computer users who perform numerous interactive backups have experienced bad copies that got past us here and there. Any number of excuses can be offered to 'explain' this as user fault etc., but my experience says otherwise. No matter how perfect you think digital is, you're at the mercy of many processes that aren't perfect, especially real-time processes.

dalethorn's picture

"At the frequencies we are interested in and at the lengths of cable we use it is unlikely to do this."

Is unlikely the same as impossible?

"This can be checked by the simplest of measurements..."

Will the result always be the same? That seems unlikely unless the 'impossible' clause is always true.

spacehound's picture

But you will hear it. EASILY, as a 'click' or whatever. Thre will NOT be a 'gradual and small degradation'.

HOW MANY TIMES does this have to be said?

I know WHY people don't like it. Compared to (say) vinyl, people have very little that can be USEFULLY 'tweaked' in computer audio. But they do it nevertheless and imagine they here 'improvements' when they actually don't.

As PROVEN by blind so-called 'tests', which CAN be very simple. They are NOT 'tests' in reality, merely an attempt to find something out, there ISN'T a 'pass or fail'.

dalethorn's picture

Argumentum Ad Nauseam.

spacehound's picture

That different cables can't sound different. I have heard that myself. BUT IT IS ALWAYS IGNORED AND CHANGED INTO SOMETHING ELSE, THEN DISAGREED WITH. Which is what you just did.

What I DO say, and have said all along, it that EXPENSIVE cables do not necessarily sound BETTER than cheap ones.

Take ten cables, 5 at $1000 plus and 5 at $30 or less. Mix them up and then test them. You will NOT be able to tell which are in the $30 bunch and which are in the $1000 bunch.

My best sounding cable ever? A meter from a reel of 4 strand telephone wire from a 99 cent store. Terminated by myself with four low-cost RCA plugs.
Attached to a $10,000 Naim CD player (of a sort before the Naims had digital outputs). It was WONDERFUL.

Attached to anything else? No different from any other 'regular' cable picked at random.

han72's picture

Regarding 3rd paragraph in yr posting: perhaps a matter of system matching & integration?

spacehound's picture

It was your arguing against something I have been careful NOT to say throughout I didn't like. But everyone else has done it too.

"System matching and integration"

I don't believe in that stuff. It merely 'fixes' one faulty component by matching it with another component with the opposite fault.

There is NO difficulty these days with sources and amplifiers in picking ones with a flat response. If they don't have that they are broken.

And most speakers (with some exceptions) are ok today. If you can't get a pair to 'match' with the rest then they are broken too.

And messing with cables that DON'T have a flat response (entirely due to BAD design - even the famous 'coat hanger' will be flat from DC to 100KHz plus) is a VERY poor way of making up tone controls.

Habanero Monk's picture

That I've used to train with. Dr. Olive is like the king of slight audibility testing.

Try the Phillips Golden Ear challenge also:

I performed this over a period of three days after the Harman software:

Check out Floyd Toole presentation. At one point he specifically speaks to cabling.

Sorry but Mr. Atkinson doesn't carry near the research weight these two bring.

Panopoulos's picture

You win!!!

dalethorn's picture

If Dr. Olive is the king, explain the AKG K812 - a terrible $1500 headphone, made to the "Harman Target Response Curve". Please, no excuses.

Panopoulos's picture

When disharmonious digression develops, observational dissonance deserving of diversionary debate delights. It is thereof an unconnection, four truth.

Habanero Monk's picture

Hmmmm... A cursory google search of AKG K812's yields a lot of positive reviews.

I'm sure there are haters. You can't please all the people all the time.

For a person that just recently heard of Dr. Olive (please, no excuses)I find it an odd response.

dalethorn's picture

I'm not talking about positive reviews, I'm talking about a poor-sounding headphone reported on by real audiophiles, i.e. not "house" reviews. And it's very, very far from the Harman Target Curve.

Panopoulos's picture

An of interest in review, courtesty upon Dale Thorn!!!

"Summary of sound: I find the K812 sound (based on my
own modest bass and treble adjustments) to be nothing
less than spectacular, and it only gets better with
the better quality amplifiers"

dalethorn's picture

Read what you wrote, what you quoted:

"...based on my .... adjustments..."

Did you bother to look?

Panopoulos's picture

there is the need then, to repeat the words of your own just quoted? "based on my !own modest! bass and treble adjustments"

Ur tha 1 who written it! For great humor, I chortle, but thy call of modesty, I shall attend.

dalethorn's picture

YOU read the review, and YOU chose to ignore the caveats and the graphs.

Panopoulos's picture

I have not a care, I can only transpositate the statements of your pro creation. The self explanation is in evident.

"explain the AKG K812 - a terrible $1500 headphone"

is then

"nothing less than spectacular, and it only gets better with the better quality amplifiers"

What is it to ignore the fact of the word?

dalethorn's picture

You post nonsense again and again, and then finally reveal yourself to be a dalethorn stalker troll, just like the other 3 guys who were banned here. I'm not saying this for your benefit, but for the benefit of the unwary here.

Panopoulos's picture

"If Dr. Olive is the king, explain the AKG K812 - a terrible $1500 headphone, made to the "Harman Target Response Curve" say Dale

but also?

"And it's very, very far from the Harman Target Curve." say Dale

What is which one Dale, in the true meaningful??

tonykaz's picture

This entire Cable debate amounts to a load of rubbish!

I sold Thousands of Dollars worth of Monster Interconnects and MIT cabling, in the mid-1980s.

People love this stuff!, it sells well, people get rich producing it and selling it, Monster Cable Products were the largest component of my Retail Business.

Anyone can say ( and do ) that Cable is crummy "dog food" but the truth is that the "dogs" eat the hell out of it.

People want to "believe" in Cable!

Was I a "whore" by selling Cable stuff? Probably!

Cable isn't alone in this. Have a look at Organized Religion and you'll see a Gigantic Version of Cable.

Nancy Reagan had her Astrologists!

15% of Americans seem ready to give Donald Trump the keys to the White House!

Guys (that I know) go in for "better cables" , some of them are Scientists!

I'm say'n that "Cable" is a harmless thing, it'll make your modest electronics and headphone sound wonderful ( if you want to feel that way ).

Now, can any of y'all explain to me : Why god gave the lighting rod to Ben Franklin ( an Atheist ) and not Moses? This concept has plenty of meat on the bone.

Tony in New Hampshire with the Bern

ps. I give $500 to anyone that can answer my query, of course I'll need proof positive!

dalethorn's picture

"Some say they don't believe in God, but they're afraid of him. I believe in God, but I'm afraid of Keyser Soze" -- The Usual Suspects.

tonykaz's picture

Is that your "weak" argument in favor of something?

I'm not giving you "mucho dinero" till you show me "proof"!

Do you think I'm some easy push-over believer?


ps. Spacy needs being afraid of, I know people like him

dalethorn's picture

Circa 1990, a TV program interviewed several Russian 7-y.o. kids, and a young lady in the group, responding to the charge that Russians (Soviets) don't accept belief in God, said that Americans have lots of gods, most of which are seen in TV ads.

dalethorn's picture

BTW, I highly recommend the AQ JitterBug. Only $50. If you can't dig up $50, you could probably roll some homeless person on payday down on the Nickel.

tonykaz's picture

I see them selling on ebay for $36 including shipping.

I suspect it's for PC devices.

I'm a Mac person so I probably don't need one!

But I might spend a few hundred on a better USB Cable where the increase in performance is immediately noticeable! Which flavor do you recommend ?

Try to keep me under $500 though.


ps. the Donald accuses Cruz of cheating in Iowa, can we stand for it?

tonykaz's picture

I forgot to ask if you have the "new & improved" version or the older first generation version.

Tony in Michigan

dalethorn's picture

I have the special version, made for special customers only. Yours will be 'fixed' so that you'll be sure to hear a difference.

tonykaz's picture

cause I learned the secret of rare earth magnetics taped or rubber banded to the device will make it's performance surpass any of the 'Specials', 1st generation or 2nd generation devices. And I learned that elevating the wire with ZnO cable trestles further enhances the improved imaging.

I bet you thought I was one of those dummys.

Tony in Bernie land

dalethorn's picture

You get your really nice stereo system, to impress your friends - JVC, Sony, whatever - then be sure to connect everything with zip cord, and enjoy. If you're lucky, you'll convince the tax man that you're just another slacker making 10 quid per hour.

tonykaz's picture

You write a vivid image with few words.

I just saw a person carrying a sign say'n: "Jesus hates you Donald"

It's wonderful to be able to speak our minds!

I love this Country, we BBQ our Sacred Cows!

Tony in… in, not quite sure!

dalethorn's picture

Actually, it helps to read the actual story. Only one class of people that Jesus ranted against, and they were the established leaders of the temple, i.e. the society. Now who would be in that position here in the U.S.? The authorities who tell us what to believe. Hmmm - scientists, and their media mouthpieces, yes? Or would that include google and facebook? Either way, Trump has no say outside of his followers. Which ironically would put him closer to Jesus than to the authorities.

And how does this relate to hi-fi and cables you ask? Hmmm - who are the scribes and pharisees of hi-fi? Definitely not Stereophile and their partners, who (unlike the guys from 2000 years ago) take a lot of abuse from their customers, and offer a pretty good degree of openness.

tonykaz's picture

I don't think anyone cares, at least not America's Right Wing Bible thumpers.

I have to say that traveling along with this Primary group is exhausting, they tell me there's one in each State, geez, what did I agree to? I rotate out soon with someone else taking my place, lucky me, but I'll be back for another turn.

Well, anyway, I rather suspect that Jesus is being "used" by those sign wavers. I'm waiting for em to declare "God on the side of Candidate so and so".

I thought we had "separation of Church and State". My guy is Jewish. Should I be worried?

Tony in Yankee land

dalethorn's picture

Like so many things, RealPolitik is not taught in most schools. The Pilgrims left Europe, not because their freedoms were so restricted there, but because they couldn't control others. Once set up here, they were "free" to oppress at will. The USA was founded by Freemasons - 70 percent admitted, the others hiding it from their churches. And to this day, the Catholic church, and most other Christian churches, Billy Graham et al declare most emphatically that Freemasonry is absolutely incompatible with Christianity. And all of that in churches that display the American flag prominently. So how do you figure that? Well, it's simple - it's called a co-opt. And why don't they teach about co-opts in schools? Because it might expose how business really works.

So what does this have to do with audiophiles and hi-fi? 100 things, not all listable here. One example though would be people who build lo-fi gear (Beats) and sell it to the kiddies on the basis that it's the "right" sound. And I'm not saying that they're 100 percent wrong, but just how much 'fi' can you lose and still be hi-fi? Not that much anyway. And then this topic: There's a lot of confusion (accidental?) about fidelity, digital perfection, the gray area between DAC input and output, and so much more. There are claims that a digital file, properly checksummed and protected from damage by the best of Microsoft and Apple, is absolutely verifiable for its digital content for a given purpose. But in reality, that applies only to the checksum utility. Does every music player hamdle that file the same exact way? It's easy to demonstrate that that dog doesn't hunt.

tonykaz's picture

For me, music is a companion!, sometimes it becomes a dopamine release ( on my Big System of Asgard 2 & Sennheisers ), the Etymotics isolate me from the horrendous surrounding environments and play soothingness.

So, I consider music reproduction a 'Life Aid'.

The Sennheiser HD800s give a stronger dose of dopamine which I'm not quite needing as my HD580s do a nice job of blissfulling me!

Beats are Social accessories, which probably suggests a Fad ( a one Billion Dollar Fad). I suspect them to be HulaHoops or Pet Rock sort of things. I'm not seeing Beats out here on the Political Road ( little white wires are common).

Today, I'm reading about Shakespeare's England and the Violent Pilgrims. I can see how Bush got away with torture.


tonykaz's picture

Good News :

A person doesn't have to limit themselves to the $1,000 Diamond HDMI, a special order can be placed for the Ultra Superb $2,600 5.0M version.

Beware of Chinese knock-offs, buy from Authorized Audioquest Dealers only.

Audioquest is taking good care of their customers!

Tony in Michigan

ps. Nordost doesn't even come close with their Top of the Line $350 HDMI, imagine how much their customers are missing.

han72's picture

not sure how old you are but if The King of Saudi Arabia really wants to buy the most expensive hdmi cable thinkable, many cable companies will make him a tailor-made offer of a really stellar price.

braking news: Catering to The Rich & Wealthy is a business model that exists for practically everything that can be bought for money, not only in hifi, but also w.r.t. cars, houses, food, bevvies, clothes, furniture, bicycles, watches, even an hour with a person (escort service, or a fading celebrity?), ..

what do we learn from this? are companies totally crazy if they offer expensive, perhaps overly refined products? is Rolex as a Company crazy? Porsche? Armani? Audioquest?

Are they liars, or frauds, just because they produce expensive watches, cars..? .. because the have products also for those who want to spend 'it'? Far from it.

Some countries allow their richer people to get away with very moderate income taxes, despite their astronomical income. And companies like Rolex, Porsche, etc. actually help to redistribute the money. I can't see what would be wrong with that?

tonykaz's picture

Of course you are quite right.

I'm just having fun with this silly HDMI debate.

If you're 72, I'm older!

And I'm wealthy compared with the Global standards. My wife spends $35 for lipstick.

Liars?, Frauds?, I sold this kind of thing so I'd say the Salespeople kind fit nicely but it's 'lie by omission' to people that need to be tickled into purchasing.

I suspect that this is all about packaging; better packaging for higher prices yielding exclusivity.

This site is supposed to be Science Based, so poking social specs. with a sharp pencil is fair game.

Tony in Michigan

ps. These same $1,000 HDMI people support Record Changers, for god's sake.

Sal1950's picture

Better common sense than to blow that kind of money on cables that offer absolutely no improvement in sound quality over what I've purchased from Blue Jean Cables for a fraction of the cost.

jazzfan's picture

This whole affair reminds me of this classic scene from the movie "Casablanca":

False claims! I'm shocked that someone is making false claims about our cables. Shocked!

Manuel Encinales's picture

Este articulo es acerca de los cables. He comparado diferentes tipos de cables de interconexion y de altavoces de las marcas: Transparent Cable, Audio Quest, Monster Cable, etc. NO EXISTE NINGUNA DIFERENCIA EN EL SONIDO DEBIDO A LOS CABLES.

This article is about the cables. I compared different types and brands of interconnect and speakers cables: Transparent Cable, Audio Quest, Monster Cable, etc. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN THE SOUND.

dalethorn's picture

It must be that perfect "Digital Quality" that Philco and GE (oops I mean Macintosh and Sylvania - whatever) used to advertise so much. I feel very secure now that my digital data is handled so perfectly that nothing can go wrong.

han72's picture

I have a couple of different audioquest cables (IC, Speaker).
And they all sound different. I guess in a (double)blind test I would find out which is which (IC compared with IC, speaker cable with speaker cable, of course).

So, who is right now?

Manuel Encinales's picture

A cable conducts electricity, NO SOUND, so electricity does not know if the cable is copper, gold or silver.

If there were differences between the cables, speaker manufacturers utilize expensive cables to the coils of its components and crossovers, even you suggest which is the ideal cable for your products, the same for all audio components such as amplifiers, CD players, etc.

Example: Krell recommend Interconnects Audio Quest and all cables used within its components would silver and the power transformers used special copper from Audio Quest.

In any audio system, speaker cable 3 meters (10 feet) in length, does not need more than a 14 gauge wire and 10 gauge is the maximum for any installation.

It is also a lie arrow direction in the IC cables.


Un cable conduce electricidad, NO SONIDO, así es que la electricidad no sabe si el cable es de cobre, oro o plata.

Si hubiese diferencias entre los cables, los fabricantes de parlantes utilizaran cables caros para las bobinas de sus componentes y filtros crossover, incluso te sugirieran cual es el cable ideal para su producto, lo mismo sería para todos los fabricantes de componentes de audio como amplificadores, reproductores de CD, etc.

Ejemplo: Krell recomendaría interconectores Audio Quest y todos los cables utilizados dentro de sus componentes fuesen de plata y los transformadores de cobre especial de Audio Quest.

En cualquier sistema de audio, un cable de parlante de 3 metros (10 pies) de longitud, no necesita más que un cable calibre 14 y el calibre 10 es el máximo para cualquier instalación.

También es una farsa la flecha con dirección en los cables de interconexión.


David Harper's picture

Thing is, speakers wire carries an analog sound signal,so it is conceivable that a speaker wire,at least in theory,might have "sound quality".
But an HDMI cord is fundamentally different.It carries a binary number stream. A sequence of one's and zero's. It does not carry "sound quality" at all.
This is the whole principal of digital technology. It eliminates the qualitative effects and influences of analog.
The idea that a digital signal can sound "better" or "worse" as a consequence of the wire that carries it reveals a basic misunderstanding of the nature of digital technology.